'207's Best' for October honored for academic achievement

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'207's Best' for October honored for academic achievement
Posted on 10/10/2017
Three seniors were recently honored by the Maine Township High School District 207 Board of Education as “207's Best.”  For the October honors, Grant Miller, of Maine South; Matthew Montanile, of Maine West; and Harshitha Padiyar, of Maine East, were recognized for academic achievement.

At South, Grant has earned a 4.81 Grade Point Average through a course load featuring multiple Advanced Placement classes while also captaining the basketball team, playing volleyball, and writing computer programs in his free time. Math teacher Beth Ann Ball recounted how Grant read a calculus textbook during the summer before taking the course simply because the topics intrigued him. She observed that “Grant is not motivated by grades, but by learning. He has an innate curiosity about the world and is interested in knowing more about it.” English teacher Johanna Abend wrote that “what sets Grant apart is his pure, steadfast intellectual curiosity,” noting that he once turned a creative assignment about transcendentalism into a piece of original music. Grant told Board of Education members that he plans to study artificial intelligence and machine learning in college. 

At Maine West, Matthew has earned a 4.81 GPA through a challenging line of courses, including several AP courses. In her introductory letter, Principal Dr. Audrey Haugan quoted English teacher Joel Walsh as stating that Matt “exemplifies the very best of the qualities that we strive to instill in all our students: intellectual curiosity, a strong sense of empathy, an inexhaustible work ethic, and great leadership.” In addition to his classroom achievements, Matthew participates in mock trial, plays guitar and trombone and serves as a chief editor of the student newspaper, the Westerner, where he explores topics in depth and last year conducted an award-winning investigative report on the ways in which companies are utilizing “big data” analytics to track teen behavior on an individual level.  Matthew told the Board he plans to study philosophy, psychology or neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis.

At East, Harshitha has earned a 4.94 GPA while taking 13 AP courses. She is a member of the school’s Gifted Lyceum program and National Honor Society. She was recently named a National Merit Semifinalist. In his introductory letter, Maine East Principal Dr. Mike Pressler wrote that “as I polled her past and present teachers to learn more about Harshitha, it became clear that she is regarded as one incredibly capable and bright students - one of the very brightest our faculty members have encountered.” Dr. Pressler quoted several teachers, who lauded Harshitha’s work ethic, intellectual curiosity, problem-solving skills and leadership in service projects. Math teacher Mark Dobner characterized her as “personable, mature and wise beyond her years.” Harshitha told Board of Education members that she plans to study either computer programming or biological engineering in college.

The “207's Best’ program recognizes outstanding students monthly throughout the school year.  Academic achievement awards are given in two months. Awards for community service, fine arts, improved performance, elective area of achievement, technology leader/innovator and extracurricular achievement are given one month each. Teachers nominate students, and an executive committee makes final decisions. Honorees are then recognized by the Board of Education, which instituted the program.

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